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Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, each with its own set of symptoms and prognosis.
Peripheral neuropathy has many different causes. One of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy in the U.S. is diabetes.
The most common type of peripheral neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy, caused by a high sugar level and resulting in nerve fiber damage in your legs and feet.
Symptoms can range from tingling or numbness in a certain body part to more serious effects, such as burning pain or paralysis.

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of damage to the nervous system. Specifically, it is a problem with your peripheral nervous system. This is the network of nerves that sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body.
Peripheral Neuropathy Causes
Peripheral neuropathy has many different causes. Some people inherit the disorder from their parents. Others develop it because of an injury or another disorder.
In many cases, a different type of problem, such as a kidney condition or a hormone imbalance, leads to peripheral neuropathy. One of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy in the U.S. is diabetes.
Peripheral Neuropathy Types
There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, each with its own set of symptoms and prognosis. To help doctors classify them, they are often broken down into the following categories:
Motor neuropathy. This is damage to the nerves that control muscles and movement in the body, such as moving your hands and arms or talking.
Sensory neuropathy. Sensory nerves control what you feel, such as pain, temperature or a light touch. Sensory neuropathy affects these groups of nerves.
Autonomic nerve neuropathy. Autonomic nerves control functions that you are not conscious of, such as breathing and heartbeat. Damage to these nerves can be serious.
Combination neuropathies. You may have a mix of 2 or 3 of these other types of neuropathies, such as a sensory-motor neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary based on the type that you have and what part of the body is affected. Symptoms can range from tingling or numbness in a certain body part to more serious effects such as burning pain or paralysis.
Muscle weakness
Cramps
Muscle twitching
Loss of muscle and bone
Changes in skin, hair, or nails
Numbness
Loss of sensation or feeling in body parts
Loss of balance or other functions as a side effect of the loss of feeling in the legs, arms, or other body parts
Emotional disturbances
Sleep disruptions
Loss of pain or sensation that can put you at risk, such as not feeling an impending heart attack or limb pain
Inability to sweat properly, leading to heat intolerance
Loss of bladder control, leading to infection or incontinence
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting because of a loss of control over blood pressure
Diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence related to nerve damage in the intestines or digestive tract
Trouble eating or swallowing
Life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosis
The symptoms and body parts affected by peripheral neuropathy are so varied that it may be hard to make a diagnosis. If your healthcare provider suspects nerve damage, he or she will take an extensive medical history and do a number of neurological tests to determine the location and extent of your nerve damage. These may include:
Blood tests
Spinal fluid tests
Muscle strength tests
Tests of the ability to detect vibrations
Depending on what basic tests reveal, your healthcare provider may want to do more in-depth scanning and other tests to get a better look at your nerve damage. Tests may include:
CT scan
MRI scan
Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies
Nerve and skin biopsy
Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment
Usually a peripheral neuropathy can’t be cured, but you can do a lot of things to prevent it from getting worse. If an underlying condition like diabetes is at fault, your healthcare provider will treat that first and then treat the pain and other symptoms of neuropathy.
In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers can help. Other times, prescription medicines are needed. Some of these medicines include mexiletine, a medicine developed to correct irregular heart rhythms; antiseizure drugs, such as gabapentin, phenytoin, and carbamazepine; and some classes of antidepressants, including tricyclics such as amitriptyline.
Lidocaine injections and patches may help with pain in other instances. And in extreme cases, surgery can be used to destroy nerves or repair injuries that are causing neuropathic pain and symptoms.
Peripheral Neuropathy Prevention
Lifestyle choices can play a role in preventing peripheral neuropathy. You can lessen your risk for many of these conditions by avoiding alcohol, correcting vitamin deficiencies, eating a healthy diet, losing weight, avoiding toxins, and exercising regularly. If you have kidney disease, diabetes, or other chronic health condition, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to control your condition, which may prevent or delay the onset of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy Management
Even if you already have some form of peripheral neuropathy, healthy lifestyle steps can help you feel your best and reduce the pain and symptoms related to the disorder. You’ll also want to quit smoking, not let injuries go untreated, and be meticulous about caring for your feet and treating wounds to avoid complications, such as the loss of a limb.
In some cases, non-prescription hand and foot braces can help you make up for muscle weakness. Orthotics can help you walk better. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, may help ease emotional as well as physical symptoms.

 

Article Provided By: hopkinsmedicine

 

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Femoral Neuropathy

Femoral Neuropathy

What is femoral neuropathy?

Femoral neuropathy, or femoral nerve dysfunction, occurs when you can’t move or feel part of your leg because of damaged nerves, specifically the femoral nerve. This can result from an injury, prolonged pressure on the nerve, or damage from disease. In most cases, this condition will go away without treatment. However, medications and physical therapy may be necessary if symptoms don’t improve.

What causes femoral neuropathy?

The femoral nerve is one of the largest nerves in your leg. It’s located near the groin and controls the muscles that help straighten your leg and move your hips. It also provides feeling in the lower part of your leg and the front of your thigh. Because of where it’s located, damage to the femoral nerve is uncommon relative to neuropathies caused by damage to other nerves. When the femoral nerve is damaged, it affects your ability to walk and may cause problems with sensation in your leg and foot. View the femoral nerve on this BodyMap of the femur.

Damage to the femoral nerve can be the result of:

  • a direct injury
  • a tumor or other growth blocking or trapping part of your nerve
  • prolonged pressure on the nerve, such as from prolonged immobilization
  • a pelvic fracture
  • radiation to the pelvis
  • hemorrhage or bleeding into the space behind the abdomen, which is called the retroperitoneal space
  • a catheter placed into the femoral artery, which is necessary for certain surgical procedures

Diabetes may cause femoral neuropathy. Diabetes can cause widespread nerve damage due to fluctuations in blood sugar and blood pressure. Nerve damage that affects your legs, feet, toes, hands, and arms is known as peripheral neuropathy. There is currently some debate about whether femoral neuropathy is truly a peripheral neuropathy or a form of diabetic amyotrophy.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), diabetes is the most common reason for peripheral neuropathy in people who’ve had diabetes for at least 25 years.

Signs of femoral neuropathy

This nerve condition can lead to difficulties moving around. Your leg or knee might feel weak, and you may be unable to put pressure on the affected leg.

You might also feel unusual sensations in your legs. They include:

  • numbness in any part of the leg (typically the front and inside of the thigh, but potentially all the way down to the feet)
  • tingling in any part of the leg
  • dull aching pain in the genital region
  • lower extremity muscle weakness
  • difficulty extending the knee due to quadriceps weakness
  • feeling like your leg or knee is going to give out (buckle) on you
How serious is it?

Prolonged pressure placed on the femoral nerve can prevent blood from flowing in the affected area. The decreased blood flow can result in tissue damage.

If your nerve damage is the result of an injury, it may be possible that your femoral vein or artery is also damaged. This could cause dangerous internal bleeding. The femoral artery is a very large artery that lies close to the femoral nerve. Trauma often damages both at the same time. Injury to the artery or bleeding from the artery can cause compression on the nerve.

Additionally, the femoral nerve provides sensation to a major portion of the leg. This loss of sensation can lead to injuries. Having weak leg muscles can make you more prone to falling. Falls are of particular concern in older adults because they can cause hip fractures, which are very serious injuries.

 

Diagnosing femoral neuropathy

Initial tests

To diagnose femoral neuropathy and its cause, your doctor will perform a comprehensive physical exam and ask questions about recent injuries or surgeries, as well as questions about your medical history.

To look for weakness, they will test specific muscles that receive sensation from the femoral nerve. Your doctor will probably check your knee reflexes and ask about changes in feeling in the front part of the thigh and the middle part of the leg. The goal of the evaluation is to determine whether the weakness involves only the femoral nerve or if other nerves also contribute.

Additional testing might include:

Nerve conduction

Nerve conduction checks the speed of electrical impulses in your nerves. An abnormal response, such as a slow time for electrical signals to travel through your nerves, usually indicates damage to the nerve in question.

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) should be performed after the nerve conduction test to see how well your muscles and nerves are working. This test records the electrical activity present in your muscles when the nerves that lead to them are active. The EMG will determine whether the muscle responds appropriately to stimulation. Certain medical conditions cause muscles to fire on their own, which is an abnormality that an EMG can reveal. Because nerves stimulate and control your muscles, the test can identify problems with both muscles and nerves.

MRI and CT scans

An MRI scan can look for tumors, growths, or any other masses in the area of the femoral nerve that could cause compression on the nerve. MRI scans use radio waves and magnets to produce a detailed image of the part of your body that is being scanned.

A CT scan can also look for vascular or bone growths.

Treatment options

The first step in treating femoral neuropathy is dealing with the underlying condition or cause. If compression on the nerve is the cause, the goal will be to relieve the compression. Occasionally in mild injuries, such as mild compression or a stretch injury, the problem may resolve spontaneously. For people with diabetes, bringing blood sugar levels back to normal may alleviate nerve dysfunction. If your nerve doesn’t improve on its own, you’ll need treatment. This usually involves medications and physical therapy.

Medications

You might have corticosteroid injections in your leg to reduce inflammation and get rid of any swelling that occurs. Pain medications can help relieve any pain and discomfort. For neuropathic pain, your doctor may prescribe medications, such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or amitriptyline.

Therapy

Physical therapy can help build up the strength in your leg muscles again. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen and stretch your muscles. Undergoing physical therapy helps to reduce pain and promote mobility.

You might need to use an orthopedic device, such as a brace, to assist you with walking. Usually, a knee brace is helpful in preventing knee buckling.

Depending on how severe the nerve damage is and how much trouble you’re having moving around, you might also need occupational therapy. This type of therapy helps you learn to do regular tasks like bathing and other self-care activities. These are called “activities of daily living.” Your doctor might also recommend vocational counseling if your condition forces you to find another line of work.

Surgery

Your doctor might recommend surgery if you have a growth blocking your femoral nerve. Removing the growth will relieve the pressure on your nerve.

Long-term outlook after treatment

You might be able to heal fully after you treat the underlying condition. If the treatment isn’t successful or if the femoral nerve damage is severe, you might permanently lose feeling in that part of your leg or the ability to move it.

Tips to prevent nerve damage

You can lower your risk of femoral neuropathy caused by diabetes by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. This helps protect your nerves from damage caused by this disease. Preventive measures would be directed at each cause. Talk to your doctor for advice about what preventive measures would be the best for you.

Maintaining an active lifestyle helps to keep your leg muscles strong and improve stability.

Last medically reviewed on September 13, 2017

 

Article Provided ByHealthline

 

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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint is thought to cause low back pain and/or leg pain. The leg pain can be particularly difficult and may feel similar to sciatica or pain caused by a lumbar disc herniation. The sacroiliac joint lies next to the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone (coccyx). It connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) with the pelvis (iliac crest).

The joint typically has the following characteristics:

  • Small and very strong, reinforced by strong ligaments that surround it
  • Does not have much motion
  • Transmits all the forces of the upper body to the pelvis (hips) and legs
  • Acts as a shock-absorbing structure

Symptoms

The most common symptoms for patients are lower back pain and the following sensations in the lower extremity: pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, pelvis/buttock pain, hip/groin pain, feeling of leg instability (buckling, giving way), disturbed sleep patterns, disturbed sitting patterns (unable to sit for long periods, sitting on one side), pain going from sitting to standing.


Causes and Risk Factors

While it is not clear how the pain is caused, it is thought that an alteration in the normal joint motion may be the culprit that causes sacroiliac pain. This source of pain can be caused by either:

Too much movement (hypermobility or instability): The pain is typically felt in the lower back and/or hip and may radiate into the groin area.

Too little movement (hypomobility or fixation): The pain is typically felt on one side of the lower back or buttocks and can radiate down the leg. The pain usually remains above the knee, but at times pain can extend to the ankle or foot. The pain is similar to sciatica — or pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve — and is caused by a radiculopathy.

Diagnosis

Accurately diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be difficult because the symptoms mimic other common conditions, including other mechanical back pain conditions like facet syndrome and lumbar spine conditions including disc herniation and radiculopathy (pain along the sciatic nerve that radiates down the leg). A diagnosis is usually arrived at through physical examination (eliminating other causes) and/or an injection (utilized to block the pain).

Treatments

Treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction are usually conservative (meaning nonsurgical) and focus on trying to restore normal motion in the joint:

  • Ice, heat and rest.
  • Medications: acetaminophen, as well as anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) to reduce the swelling that is usually contributing to the patient’s pain.
  • Manual manipulation provided by a chiropractor, osteopathic doctor or other qualified health practitioner may help. This can be highly effective when the sacroiliac joint is fixated or “stuck.” It may be irritating if the sacroiliac joint is hypermobile. The manipulation is accomplished through a number of methods, including (but not limited to): side-posture manipulation, drop technique, blocking techniques and instrument-guided methods.
  • Supports or braces for when the sacroiliac joint is “hypermobile,” or too loose.
  • Controlled, gradual physical therapy may be helpful to strengthen the muscles around the sacroiliac joint and appropriately increase range of motion. In addition, any type of gentle, low-impact aerobic exercise will help increase the flow of blood to the area, which in turn stimulates a healing response. For severe pain, water therapy may be an option, as the water provides buoyancy for the body and reduces stress on the painful joint.
  • Sacroiliac joint injections.

When these treatments fail, surgery may be offered. In surgery, one or both of the sacroiliac joints may be fused with the goal of eliminating any abnormal motion.

Article Provided By: Cedars-Sinai